I know it’s a question I asked a lot when contemplating having another child.
I remember after having our first daughter, one of the first sentences out of my mouth was “she’s going to be an only child” and then down the track it turned to “when she’s 5 we will start trying for another”. Don’t ask me how it happened but all of a sudden babies were all around me and it felt like our daughter was getting ready to go to school; I just had this unbelievable need or want even to add another member to our family.
It’s funny really, I’m sure my partner felt like I was blindsiding him by telling him I was ready. He sat on it for a few months, possibly because he wanted to know I was sure (we all know having a child is not a small decision) also I think it gave him time to really consider the pros and cons of having children so close in age.
Now my children aren’t as close in age as some, I have a 2 1/2 year old and a 4 month old so lets just say a two year age gap. Two years is not a long time when you really put that in to prospective; after all I fell pregnant when she was only 18 months. It definitely made it hard feeling tired and sick and not being able to sit down and relax; instead running around after an energetic toddler, while working part time and trying to keep our home in order.
In this aspect of having a close age gap it definitely fell in to my cons list, as I’m sure our daughter wasn’t too pleased with my less than enthusiastic attitude either.
Now my next point is up for debate, as some people I’ve spoken to have it in their pros and some their cons; having two so close together means a continuous loop of no sleep or broken sleep. I can understand both sides here, if you have children with a larger age gap you get back to having a good nights sleep just for it to be ripped away from you again. Although on the other side of the tracks, if you have children close together you never really get to catch up on sleep before you’re thrown even deeper in to the sleepless lodge.
How about the old age tale of the immense guilt you feel for not having as much time to dedicate towards your first born. This one is a little bit of a sticky topic because when I first had our second I cried many tears because I was so busy breastfeeding and settling bubs that I lost out on so much of what I was used to with our first. But now that I’m coming out of the fog I realise regardless if my daughter was 2 or 10 I would always feel like I didn’t have the same time with her. She would of been at school five days a week and when she got home, that wouldn’t have automatically meant the rest of the night was dedicated to just her either.
What if we flip it, I also feel immense guilt that our second born has to wait a little bit longer for everything she needs as having a toddler means she can’t exactly fend for herself. I definitely don’t get that same one on one time as I did with our first, I can only assume that If our first born was older and at school it would allow me that one on one time. So I guess you can go ahead and put a tick in the cons list for that one.
But one I feel is a strong contender for the pros list, and one that makes it all worth it for me, is seeing my oldest fall more and more in love with our youngest by the day. I’m not saying that if there were a bigger age gap that you wouldn’t get to see the incredible bond formed between siblings. But for me having two so close together means that they will grow up in similar age brackets and be able to grow together enjoying the same things right in front of my eyes; this is one of the best gifts I have or will ever receive.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you don’t get a choice. Sometimes you want a smaller gap but don’t get it, sometimes you plan for a longer gap and nature steps in with other ideas. In any occasion people are going to give you their opinion on the matter regardless, in the end you’re the one who has the privilege of raising those beautiful children. The perfect age gap is whatever gap you get; big or small you’ll make it work for your family.
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